Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Best Pinot Noir?


Best Pinot? by Matt Kramer. It’s good to see that Matt still writes for the hometown newspaper. In “Pinot”, Matt makes the case for blended Oregon Pinot. Bob Tovey was kind enough to send along a copy of a recent article in The Sunday Oregonian entitled “The Noirs as opposed to wines from specific vineyards. I totally agree with Matt about the outrageous price differential some wineries are charging for vineyard designated wines. While you might think Matt is a wine rep for Adelsheim, as he is virtually orgasmic over the 2005 Adelsheim “Willamette Valley” Pinot Noir at $30 from Young’s Columbia, the wine may well be excellent. I’ve had some excellent non-vineyard-specific Pinots from Oregon, but Matt misses the point. Oregon Pinot country is a virtual terroirville for differences among vineyards. You only need to taste Panther Creek Pinots from Bednarick, Shea and Freedom Hill vineyards to know that you’re going to miss something special and unique by not tasting vineyard specific Pinots from the Willamette Valley. As I write this, I am comfortably ensconced with a glass of 2004 Bergstrom Shea Vineyard for which I recently paid $20 a half bottle at the Tasting Room in Carlton. Wow! Richly deep red, this wine is surprisingly big and full, beautifully balanced with dark berry fruit and just enough tannin to suggest that it might improve for ten or more years, even though it is thoroughly enjoyable right now. The Pinot Noir vineyards of the North Willamette are a royal opportunity to truly taste terroir and enjoy the difference. Is it worth twice as much as a blend? That depends on your own worth and values. I certainly didn’t pay $60 for any of the vineyard wines I purchased on my recent trip to the Willamette Valley with Diane, Bob & Kathy. Maybe the real question is to find great wines at good prices, whether it be Erath Pinot for $10-$15 or Beaux Freres for $65.

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